Ah, morning weirdness....

Probably just as well I had had a wonderful day the day before so I was all mellowed out for the following, despite the husband's 1 am phone call from Tennessee regarding his mother's poor health (the reason he was in Tennessee in the first place).

There I was, snoozing and dreaming weird happy dreams in my snug bed. (I had seen Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End the night before, so there was an interesting and kinky bit involving Davy Jones and tentacle sex, but I digress...) My pet cockatiels were snug in their cage, heads tucked under wings dreaming little bird dreams. The house was quiet, serene, silent, at contented peace...


I woke up going "Whuh...?" (I am not a morning person). The birds were awake and making distress shrieks which I think translated as "QUICK HIDE HIDE THE THING THAT EATS US JUST RANG THE DOORBELL IT'S COMING IT'S COMING HIDE HIDE HIDE!" (For some reason they think bird-eating monsters are deaf, so it's OK to screech while hiding). I'm doubting that I heard anything (other than little birds being loud) when I dimly hear:

"Can't somebody help me?"

Still half awake, I had this image of a drunken Captain Jack Sparrow mincing on the front driveway while crying out in Little Richard's voice from that one Geico commercial, but then my benumbed brain realized that that is was definitely a woman's voice and probably real, therefore requiring actual action. I started to nudge the husband to get up and do his manly duty by confronting the interruption in his underwear and, if advisable, some of the household weaponry (it WAS quarter to 5 on a Sunday morning, after all, and it could have been some sort of missionaries or other prostelytizers) but then I remembered he was 500 miles away.

Damn, I would just have to do it myself.

At least I remembered to put on a robe first. No sense scaring the neighbors or the doorbell ringer.

So I made my bleary-eyed way to the front door, cautiously stuck my face out into the pre-dawn gloom, and saw this woman in a sleeveless dress mildly staggering on the border between driveway and street. So I did what any other half-awake idjit would do, I bellowed into the morning "LADY, IT'S 5 AM, WHAT DO YOU WANT?"

She turned around, swayed, then with remarkable steadiness shuffled up to my door, preceded by a miasma of used booze and sweat. Her speech wasn't slurred but her word choice was. Something about being thrown out on the street by her boyfriend and being out all night (which I believe - she was wet clean through, her dress dripping wet - she had either been swimming fully clothed or was out in the rain all night without shelter) and didn't know where the hell she was (I can believe that). The one clear thing that came through was that she was asking for help.

OK. I didn't get a vibe that she was particularly dangerous, but my normal paranoid caution was at full alert. I wasn't going to invite any stranger (much less an intoxicated one) into the house, but I knew how to use a phone. It wa warm enough outside she wouldn't freeze to death in the meanwhile. I went back inside, called 911, and reported a somewhat incoherent woman wandering around the neighborhood, not making much sense but clearly needing and requesting some sort of aid and assistance. I heard the 911 operator sigh and contact the police - apparently mine was not the first call about this woman.

After that little chore was done I hung up the phone and threw on some real clothes because I might have to talk to Officer Friendly. I went out front. The woman was sort of tottering around in one lane of the four lane road out front, babbling something about looking for a ride. I told her I had made a phone call and tried to encourage her to sit down on some of the patio furniture out front. She was having none of it, now saying something about how calling the cops was useless because earlier one tried to run her down. Personally, I think it more likely she had wandered out into the road in an inebriated state and the car had taken evasive action but I didn't see any point to starting a disagreement with someone clearly not functioning well. I just didn't want her mowed down in front of me.

A few minutes later a local sheriff's deputy pulled up. As he approached the woman asked me if she was going to be arrested. I told I didn't think so, he was just here to help her. He looked at her (yes, she was still channelling Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow in regards to staggering about and swaying when she stood still), then looked at me and concluded I was probably the Rudely Awakened Good Citizen and asked me what was up. I simply stated that this woman rang my doorbell, wasn't making much sense, but clearly needed some sort of help. She wasn't threatening, just annoying.

So he asked her what was happening with her. The result was a stream-of-conciousness ramble involving boyfriend, Chicago, moving to Gary, bus passes, riding around all night, walking around all night, being thrown out of a house or apartment or bus (or maybe all three) and much whining. Well, yes, if I'd been out in the rain all night I'd probably be whining too. The gal obviously had some problems. She had no ID, no money, really nothing but the clothes on her back and an aroma of alcohol. It took several requests for her present address for her to say where she lived, which was actually not that far from where I live. It was walking distance, if a bit longer than most folks find comfortable. She had NO idea where she was at present, was totally lost and disorientated in that respect. The cop asked her name. She told him. It was a little unusual so he asked her spell it. Although she pronounced it the same way each time, she gave him three different spellings, including one with three or four T's in a row. While she was doing this her tone was getting more hostile, she didn't like that he kept asking her name and address. She rambled toward and away from the cop, almost bumping into him several times. He didn't like this, and asked her to step back and stay back. He clearly wanted her at least at arm's length. She got pissy at this request and took offense. I said "Lady, he just doesn't want you to stand so close". For some reason, that seems to make it into her brain and she backed up.

By this point he was telling her that he was here to help her, but procedure required him to ask these questions, and if she continued to be belligerent he was going to arrest her for public intoxication instead of helping her get home. How could he help her get home unless she told him where she lived? He then asked how much she had had to drink. She denied drinking. He said he coud smell it on her (like, at ten paces - it was that several-hours-old alcohol sweat odor). She admited to drinking earlier that night. He said, OK, what would you like me to do for you?

More incoherency about the boyfriend, a bus, being out in the rain all night....

The cop looked at me. I shrugged. He asked if I know her. Nope, never saw her before in my life. He said OK, if you want you can go back in, he can handle it from here.

So I did. And since it wasn't that much earlier than when I usually get up, the birds were engaged in their Dawn Serenade, and I was hungry I decided to fix breakfast and get on with the day. A few minutes later I looked out the window and both the woman and the deputy were gone.

Well, I hope it had a happy ending. But I couldn't help but think this was more like what living in the city of Chicago used to be like, with Odd Neighbors and Characters, than the quasi-rural area I moved to 10 years prio. Damn - the urban stuff was following me out here! You know, the biker bar that used to be next door certainly had its "call the cops" moments, but even shitfaced drunk those guys seemed to understand the need to be cooperative with the cops and not get in their face. This woman was just a mix of pitiful and annoying.

© 2007

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